By TIM CHAN
The hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter may have caused some confusion on Twitter on Wednesday, after K-pop fans took over the trending topic by spamming it with fan cams and memes of their favorite artists.
The united effort effectively drowned out the white-supremacist messaging that organizers of the hashtag were likely hoping to spread, with K-pop fans using the hashtag to promote their favorite groups instead, while also linking to anti-racist organizations and messaging.
— +✶?Multi Supportive ARMY⁷ ☺️?∞? ⟭⟬⟬⟭ (@MonbebesArmy) June 3, 2020
The idea for Wednesday’s trending topic takeover stemmed from a similar action over the weekend, when K-pop fans spammed the Dallas Police Department’s “iWatch Dallas” app with fan cams and photos. Dallas PD had claimed they were using the app to monitor “illegal activity from the protests,” but many residents complained that the department was actually using the app to “snitch” on protesters. K-pop fans replied to the cops’ call for videos by sending them homemade clips of their favorite Korean artists performing onstage.
“The idea of spamming these types of white supremacist hashtags came from the idea of spamming the Dallas Police Department app,” explains the Twitter user “Lovely Doya,” a 17-year-old BTS and ONEUS fan from California. “We did it to protect the people at the protest because K-pop fans agree that they do not deserve to be arrested for gathering to fight for justice. Since this plan was successful, we realized it would work with other things like burying hateful white-supremacist tweets in their own hashtags.”
For Sarah Jimenez, a 20-year-old BTS and Monsta X fan from California, the social media takeover was a way for the K-pop community to unite for something positive, while also refuting common stereotypes about the fandom.
“People think that sometimes we start those dumb party trends because K-poppers want views for their fan cams, or that we don’t even know what the tag is about [and that] we just want the views, but it’s a misconception,” Jimenez says. “On some occasions, when we don’t like what a tag is trending for, we unite and purposefully spam to overtake it, like was the case for this tag,” she explains.
While K-pop fans have been known to passionately defend their favorite groups, they’ve been unified about the way they are using their voice these days, offering up a more empathetic example of “stan culture” online.
“Some big accounts have stopped posting about their idols (favorite artists) and started posting about the Black Lives Matter movement instead,” Jimenez explains. “The accounts are taking advantage of their already-big platforms to drop links to articles explaining where we can donate funds, and made threads on what we can do to help out the protesters.”
“The K-pop community has also started censoring the idols names [on their tweets] so that we don’t accidentally trend them like we usually do,” Jimenez says. “We want the Black Lives Matter tag to keep trending at number one [rather than the artists].”
a thread of hashtags used by the cops to recognize protestors and share informations between each other (m@ga/bluelivesmatter etc..) that we have to spam with fancams/edits espacially on twt and instagram.
go get your views #BlackLivesMatter
— BTS SNIPER⁷ bIm ACAB (@BTS_SNIPPER) June 3, 2020
For “Lovely Doya,” who declined to provide her name but identifies as Mexican-American, participating in Wednesday’s #WhiteLivesMatter takeover (which quickly merged to spam the #WhiteOutWednesday tag) came naturally to her and the thousands of others who helped to bury the hashtag’s racist messaging and original intent.
“Although K-pop fans are using a very unique and interesting approach, we show our support in this way because social media is our forte and we know we have the ability to make things trend easily,” she says. “It’s important to show support because the BLM movement is about bringing justice to all the innocent lives lost at the hands of racist police officers. It is something that myself and countless other K-pop fans believe in, because many of us, including myself, are POC. At the end of the day, we are human before we are K-pop stans.”